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BlazeSports America is proud to offer two FREE soccer clinics this fall! Both are open to youth and veterans with ambulatory disabilities.

Learn more and sign up here!

Posted in Camp, Football 7-a-side, News, Programs, Veterans |

Register Today for Youth Day Camp!

We are excited to offer two youth day camps this summer to kids with physical disabilities who are 7 to 17 years old!

One camp will be held in Kennesaw on July 14 and the second held in Decatur on July 28, both from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Click here for more information and to sign up!

Posted in Camp, Featured, News |

Register Today for BlazeSports All-Star Camp!

Posted in Archery, Camp, Featured, get involved, Internships, News, Programs, Support Us, Swimming, Track and Field, Volunteer, Wheelchair Basketball |

BlazeCamp Video: Our Time with the Haitians

This years BlazeCamp was enhanced, thanks to funding from The U.S. Department of State’s SportsUnited Division, with a cultural exchange of 12 children with disabilities and 6 emerging leaders from Haiti. Our guests, in addition to attending BlazeCamp, also visited a variety of locations in the Atlanta area including Kennesaw State University, The Georgia Aquarium, Stone Mountain and the Atlanta Dream.

However it was the Haitian’s time camp at BlazeCamp where with friendships being formed, using sport as a common language, with US campers that was truly inspirational.  

U.S. camper Maya Kahn commented on her time with the kids from Haiti – “This was probably the best part about camp. These kids were the sweetest kids I have ever met. I loved learning about their Haitian culture and getting to talk with them, well at least trying to! I love how they were always telling me, “You are beautiful,” when really they are the beautiful ones. I’m really going to miss them!” 

 

The video below provides a brief insight into some of the activities our Haitian guests got up to:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkNxwRLXFMI&feature=share&list=UUfOuj82WfTJmLpFzZ35URZg

Posted in Camp, Featured, International, News |

All Stars Summer Sports Camp

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By Erin Bukovic, BlazeSports Intern and Camp Leader at All Stars Summer Camp

The All-Stars Sports Camp held June 12-14 was a great success! Together with Reaching for the Stars, a foundation of hope for children with Cerebral Palsy, BlazeSports provided the 3-day summer sports camp at Hembree Park in Roswell, GA.

The wonderful athletes who participated were introduced to new sports along with working on skills of sports they already played. The children participated in basketball, tennis, boccia, soccer, baseball/softball and volleyball. Over the 3 day camp, these athletes with Cerebral Palsy expanded on their knowledge of how to play and adapt to each of the sports, increased their physical activity, gained confidence in their ability to play some sports that they thought they could not play and they gained great friendships throughout the week that will hopefully continue.

 

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Posted in Camp, News |

Haitians Wrap Up Exchange Trip to United States

After a busy weekend, the Haitian group of campers and leaders, who are participating in our U.S. Department of State – SportsUnited funded exchange trip, made their way to the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute in Warm Springs, GA to spend five days at BlazeCamp.

After unpacking their bags, the Haitian group leaders joined their American peers for camp training while the campers took a tour of the Little White House. There they learned about the history of former U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who himself had a physical disability but never let this get in the way of his career and achievements.

The following day the U.S. campers arrived and from the outset it was evident that the language barrier was not going to be a big issue when I came to both groups interacting and having fun. It didn’t take long for everyone to start to relax and enjoy playing games with one another. Throughout the week more and more friendships were created between the two groups. U.S. camper Derek Duvell’s favorite part of the week was getting to know the Haitians and learning more about their culture.

During camp, both the Haitian campers and leaders were trying new activities they’ve never experienced before. Some activities included learning to swim, archery and track and field events. A common favorite was being able to go out on the lake in canoes, kayaks and paddleboats. Everyone was having a good time Kayakrowing under the fountain to cool off on the hot day. A true culture exchange moment came during the nights at the camp fire where the leaders taught everyone games that Haitian children play in their country. All the campers were smiling, laughing and enjoying learning the new games.

On the last night of camp, everyone dressed up and threw on a cowboy hat, bandana and sheriff badges for the hoedown party. Once they heard the music, people were showing off their best dance moves and having a great time. To end the week at camp, the campers split up into teams representing different countries for a mini Paralympic Games where more activities were played. Once the day started wrapping up, it was time to say goodbye to a group of people who truly made the week an unforgettable one.Haitians Hoedown

For their last day, the group was able to buy some souvenirs for themselves and family members and have an “all American” style sleepover at the Powder Springs First United Methodist Church.

Everyone was sad to see the Haitian exchange group fly on Sunday after 10 fantastic days in Atlanta but at the same time happy that new lasting friendships had been established. 

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Posted in Camp, Haiti, International, News |

BlazeCamp 2013 Wrap Up

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By Kit McCluskey, BlazeCamp Leader

BlazeCamp  was held at the traditional location of Camp Dream at the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute in Warm Springs, GA from May 278th – June 1st. The camp saw great success this year bringing in 30 participants with physical disabilities  from around the country and 12 international campers from Haiti. The purpose of the camp is to give children with physical disabilities the opportunity to meet new friends, build confidence, develop independence, and try new things and in this year’s case learn about a new culture.

Maya + Haitians

For a majority of the campers, this was their first time away from their parents and they didn’t know what to expect. With the help from the leaders, it didn’t take long for the kids to feel comfortable and immediately start playing while making new friends. Many of the staff have been campers themselves so they know what it is like. Christina Young, one of the leaders said, “I first came to BlazeCamp when I was 8 years old. I keep coming back as a leader because I want to help the campers have the same positive experience I had.” James Adams and Bryan Powell feel the same positive impact and attributed BlazeCamp to the reason they became involved in wheelchair sports.

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During the 5 day camp each camper had the chance to participate in a variety of activities including archery, fishing, soccer, bowling in addition to many others. Camper Rachel Barnett’s favorite part of the week was reaching the top of the climbing wall. It was the first time she has ever done something like that and she was able to work on her fear of heights.

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Another favorite part of the week was swimming. Campers were able to conquer their fear of water with the help of Coach Fred and staff teaching them how to swim. Seeing their success, proved to each camper how much potential they do have and nothing is holding them back from doing what they want to achieve.

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A new element of the week was the culture exchange between the Americans and the Haitians. A few of the nights, while making s’mores by the campfire, the Haitian leaders taught everyone games commonly played by kids in their country. Even with the language barrier, it was easy to interact with one another because sports and having fun is all universal.

Blue team

On the last night, the campers and leaders dressed up in their cowboy hats, overalls and bandanas and had a Hoedown party. The evening was filled with dancing, music and fun. To end the week, the campers split up into teams representing different countries for a mini Paralympic Games. Afterwards, there was a BBQ where the kids were able to share their favorite memories of the week with their families.

Haitians Hoedown

BlazeSports would like to thank all the campers and staff who came out to make for a wonderful week. We’d also like to thank our sponsors the Kyle Pease Foundation, U.S. Department of State – SportsUnited, Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and Resurgens Charitable Foundation. Without their generosity camp would not have been the same.

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Posted in Camp, Featured, Haiti, International, News |